MEDICAL MANPOWER – OPEN ALL HOURS SURVEY (2017)

Here are the results of a Survey carried out with the support of Practice Index, www.practiceindex.co.uk.

The pretext of the Survey was to assess whether GP Practices were ‘open all hours’ and to what degree. The outcome of the Survey suggests that the vast majority of Practices provide an excellent level of service between 8.00am and 6.30pm each week day. Practices clearly use many different ways of providing services, including appointments reminders, access to prescriptions, appointments and records online, and extended hours either at their own surgery

With the support of Practice Index, www.practiceindex.co.uk, Robert Campbell out a Survey of over 330 GP Practices to assess to what extent GP Practices in the UK were ‘Open All Hours’.

ANALYSIS OF RESPONDENTS

This Section shows the breakdown of Participants in the Survey.

Respondents by Regional Location

By Location Responses Percentage
Home Counties 70 21
South West 55 17
Midlands 30 9
East Midlands 31 9
East Anglia 26 8
Yorkshire 36 11
North East 13 4
North West 35 11
Scotland 19 6
Wales 9 3
Northern Ireland 7 2
Totals 331 100

Note – 2 respondents did not declare their location.

Respondents by Country

By Country Total %
England 296 89
Scotland 19 6
Wales 9 3
Northern Ireland 7 2
Not Declared 2 1
Totals 333 100

 

Respondents by Type of Geographical Location

Locality Number Population %
Rural 48 299078 14.45
Semi-Rural 100 860294 30.12
Urban 184 1695661 55.42
Totals 332 2855033 100
Note – 3 Practices indicated they were University practices

Respondents by English County

English County Number English County Number
Bedfordshire 3 Leicestershire 2
Berkshire 6 Lincolnshire 12
Bristol 1 Merseyside 6
Buckinghamshire 4 Norfolk 4
Cambridgeshire 6 North Yorkshire 10
Cheshire 7 Northamptonshire 5
Cornwall 10 Nottinghamshire 7
County Durham 4 Oxfordshire 2
Cumbria 5 Shropshire 3
Derbyshire 5 Somerset 8
Devon 10 South Yorkshire 9
Dorset 5 Staffordshire 4
East Sussex 1 Suffolk 1
East Yorkshire 4 Surrey 7
Essex 10 Tyne and Wear 9
Gloucestershire 6 Warwickshire 8
Greater London 27 West Midlands 13
Greater Manchester 8 West Sussex 7
Hampshire 13 West Yorkshire 13
Herefordshire 1 Wiltshire 1
Hertfordshire 5 Worcestershire 1
Isle of Wight 1
Kent 13
Lancashire 9
Totals 296

 

LUNCHTIME CLOSURES

This Section deals with the Results of the Survey and starts by looking at Lunchtime Closures

Lunchtimes Number %
Open All ‘Core’ Hours 269 80.8
Closed All Lunchtimes 42 12.6
Closed One Lunchtime 17 5.1
No Response 5 1.5
Totals 333 100

 

This response on Lunchtimes suggested that almost 81% of GP Practices are ‘Open All Hours’.

HALF DAY CLOSING

The next Section looks at the incidence of half day closing, whether it is every weekday, once a week or once a month for training purposes.

Half Day Closing Number %
Open All ‘Core’ hours 244 73.3
Closed Once a Week 47 14.1
Closed Once a Month 37 11.1
No Response 5 1.5
Totals 333 100.0

 

This Section on Half Day Closing suggests that around 73% of GP Practices are ‘Open All hours’.

USE OF ‘111’ TELEPHONE SERVICE

This Section looks at the number of Practices using ‘111’ as a contact point for patient’s when the surgery is closed.

Use of ‘111’ for Out of Hours Services Number %
Practices using ‘111’ 280 84
Practices not using ‘111’ 53 16
Total 333 100

 

It should also be noted that 231 Practices (69%) still make reference to NHS Direct on their web sites or in practice leaflets. There are, however, different arrangements in Scotland and Wales.

ONLINE ACCESS

The next Section looks at the use of Online Services for Patients

Use of Online Services Numbers % Type of Online Services Numbers %
Online Services Used 319 96 Prescriptions 317 99
Online Services not Used 14 4 Appointments 309 97
Medical Records 261 82
Total 333 100

 

The Section indicates that only 4% of GP Practices do not use online services for patients to order repeat prescriptions, book appointments online and view their medical records online.

 

EMAIL AVAILABILTY AND APPOINTMENT TEXT REMINDERS

This next section looks at the prevalence of the use of publicly known Practice or Practice Managers email addresses and the use of text reminders to patients for appointments.

Use of Practice Email Address Numbers % Use of Text Reminders Numbers %
Practice with email address 226 68 Text Reminders 281 84
No email address 107 32 No Text Reminders 52 16
Totals 333 100 Total 333 100

 

Whilst GP Practices now provide Practice Web Site, still 32% do not offer an email address as a contact point for patients. However, an extensive 84% of Practices used text reminders to mobile phones for appointments.

CORE HOURS

The next Section looks at the compliance with ‘Core Hours’, although there is no legal requirement for surgery premises to be physically open during the ‘core hours’, evidence suggests that some surgery premises are not open until 8.30am and close their doors at 6.00pm. There is no suggestion that these Practices are not available by telephone or via ‘111’.

Responses were only requested in relation to the period 6.00pm until 6.30pm.

Surgeries Open Until 6.30pm Total Open % Not Open %
England 296 234 79 62 21
Scotland 19 2 11 17 89
Wales 9 9 100 0 0
Northern Ireland 7 1 14 6 86
Not Stated 2 2 100 0 0
Totals 333 248 74 85 26

 

The response to the Question about remaining physically open until 6.30pm suggests that almost three quarters of the Practices that responded to the survey can stake a claim to being ‘Open All Hours’

 

 

 

 

 

EXTENDED HOURS AT OWN SURGERY

This Section looks at the prevalence of the use of Extended Hours, which might be provided either before 8.00am and after 6.30pm on weekdays and during the weekend at the Practices own surgery.

Analysis of Extended Hours Provision

Main Surgery All England N Ireland Wales Scotland Totals
All 333 298 7 7 19 331
Extended Hours 227 210 2 0 15 227
No Extended Hours 106 88 5 7 4 104
Percentages All England N Ireland Wales Scotland Totals
Extended Hours 68.17 70.47 28.57 0.00 78.95 68.58
No Extended Hours 31.83 29.53 71.43 100.00 21.05 31.42

 

Almost 70% of GP Practices on average provide Extended Hours Services which on the face of it is ‘beyond the call of duty’ and confirms that a large majority of Practices are ‘Open All Hours’

Services Provided at Another Surgery

The Analysis below shows the extent to which Practices offer extended hours services at a surgery operated by another practice.

Country Another Surgery All %
Scotland 4 19 21.05
England 77 296 26.01
ALL 81 315 25.71

 

In Summary, the extent to which main surgery premises are OPEN ALL HOURS is shown below:

  1. Lunchtimes – 81%
  2. Half Day Closing – 74%
  3. Use of ‘111’ – 84%
  4. Online Access – 96%
  5. Email Address – 68%
  6. Text Reminders – 84%
  7. Core Hours – 74%
  8. Extended Hours – 68%

Robert Campbell – June 2017

 

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